Current Affairs – December 30, 2017

Here’s your daily summary of Current Affairs.

Viswanathan Anand wins World Rapid Chess Tournament

India’s ace chess player Viswanathan Anand won the World Rapid Chess tournament title in Saudi Arabia by beating Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0 in a two-game tie-break. Saudi Arabia hosted the world chess tournament for the first time. The women’s title was won by China’s Ju Wenjun. Dronavalli Harika was the best-placed Indian, finishing 19th.




Pluto Exchange launches India’s first mobile app for transacting in Bitcoins

Cryptocurrency dealer ‘Pluto Exchange’ announced the launch of India’s first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies. The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks. The app would permit a range of transactions, including payments, remittances, business-to-business commerce, supply chain finance, asset management and trading.
The founder and Chief Executive of Pluto Exchange is Bharat Verma.



SEBI caps cross-shareholding in Rating Agencies at 10 %     

Markets regulator SEBI stated that cross-holding in credit rating agencies (CRAs) will be capped at 10 percent and also decided to raise the minimum net worth requirement to Rs 25 crore from the current Rs 5 crore. Also, the board of SEBI has approved a slew of measures for tightening the financial and operational eligibility of the promoters of CRAs, besides greater disclosure requirements for them.



India Ranks 5th in countries with Highest NPA levels    

India has the highest level of non-performing assets (NPA) among BRICS countries and is ranked fifth on a list of countries with the highest levels of NPAs, as per the report by CARE Ratings. The only countries ranked higher than India on the list are Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. All these countries, along with Spain, are commonly referred to as PIIGS, and have been victims of sovereign debt crises in recent years. At 9.85 percent, India’s NPA ratio is over 400 basis points higher. Spain is the only PIIGS country ranked lower than India on the list, with an NPA ratio of 5.28 percent. PIIGS includes Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.


Small Savings Interest Rate cut by 20 bps     

The government slashed interest rates on small savings schemes, including National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Public Provident Fund (PPF), by 0.2 percentage point for the January-March period from the rates applicable in the previous quarter. This will prompt banks to lower deposit rates. As per the finance ministry notification, rates have been reduced across the board for schemes such as National Savings Certificate (NSC), Sukanya Samriddhi Account, Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) and Public Provident Fund (PPF). However, interest on savings deposits has been retained at 4 percent annually.



Bank of Baroda enters into MOU with POORTI Agri Services (P) Ltd  

Bank of Baroda has entered into MOU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd to enable the farmers to purchase agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, seeds etc. provided by POORTI. This is a Platform for Online Ordering & Rural Transformation of India known as “POORTI”. POORTI is a well-established company providing multi-party mobile commerce platform for easy ordering of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds by farmers with loans given by banks.
The Chairman of Bank of Baroda is Ravi Venkatesan and its Managing Director & CEO is P.S.Jayakumar.



India signs agreement with World Bank for UP Tourism Project

An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 40 Million from World Bank for “U.P. Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project” was signed between India and the World Bank. The programme size is approximately USD 57.14 million, of which USD 40 million will be financed by the Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget. The programme duration is 5 years. The Project Objective is to increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in targeted destinations. The major districts under attractions in Uttar Pradesh are Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Govardhan in the Braj region.



Fiscal Deficit crosses FY 17-18 target in Nov 17 itself  

India’s fiscal deficit at the end of November breached the target and touched 112 percent of the budget estimate for 2017-18. This was mainly due to lower GST collections, and higher expenditure. In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit the difference between expenditure and revenue stood at 6.1 lakh cr rupees during the April to November 2017 period, according to Controller General of Accounts data. During the same period of the last fiscal, the deficit had stood at 85.8 percent of that year’s target. Data showed that the government’s revenue receipts were 53.1 percent of the budget estimate during the April to November 2017 period.


Indian Science Congress 2018 to be held in Manipur        

The 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress will be held in Manipur in March 2018. It was originally scheduled to be held in Hyderabad’s Osmania University in Jan 2018 but the University opted out of the same citing security reasons and hence it had to be shifted to Manipur. Traditionally, the Indian Science Congress is the first public event which the Prime Minister of India will attend every New Year, but this time it will not be so due to the postponement. The first edition of the ISC was held in Kolkata in 1914 and the last and the 104th one was held in Tirupathi.


Prince Harry named President of African Parks     

Britain’s Prince Harry has been named the President of the African Parks, a conservation group which manages wildlife in Africa. Harry’s role will be to preserve Africa’s natural heritage and support wildlife and communities that live around the conservation areas. The African Parks were founded in 2000 and manage 10 parks in 7 African nations currently.

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